Beta – First Findings, First Impressions

This is some random stuff I’ve been wanting to see looked up and, to date, I haven’t! Fortunately, I now have the opportunity to do so myself, and figured I would share. This isn’t anything all that extensive, just some questions I’ve had on my mind:

  • Anti-Magic Shell: Despite its tooltip remaning the same, it does not produce runic power untalented.
  • Magic Suppression: It does cause AMS to produce runic power, and at the same rate as the present (with 3/3 MS). I’ll post the exact ratio once I can do a bit more testing (it’s rather time intensive to do on mobs, and there was no one on I knew to duel with), but I’m fairly positive it’s unchanged.
  • Icy Touch: Despite its tooltip remaining the same, it does not produce additional threat in any presence.
  • Death and Decay: In addition to the base damage being lowered, the AP coefficient was cut in half.
  • Blood Boil: Coefficient unchanged, which isn’t totally surprising since the base damage is unchanged (although is still interesting since most runic abilities got their damage doubled, while DnD got it’s reduced. I expected some movement one way or the other).
  • Haste: Increase rune regen at the same rate it increases attack speed; i.e, 20% haste = 20% more auto-attacks and 20% quicker rune refresh times. Makes the stat crazy at level 80, but I’m sure it will depreciate quickly and heavily.
  • Haste + UP : It’s multiplicative in terms of rune refresh times.
  • Haste + Ghoul: It does appear to affect energy regen.

There’s plenty more I plan to test, of course, as this was all stuff done in the first ten or so minutes, but it’s a start. If anyone has anything specific you want me to look into which I might not think of, I’ld be happy to do so; simply leave a comment or drop an email.

I don’t plan to go too far into specific talents until those get redone, since the overhaul is going to be rather large. Until that happens, I’ll probably be focusing on the more general stuff, such as the things of the nature listed above, as well as just getting the hang of playing on beta (meaning no add-ons -which is especially annoying for runes – on top of the buggy nature of it all, leveling to 82, etcetera).

And, of course, I plan to type up plenty of eloquent feedback for the official beta forums. That will have to wait until I’ve played stuff more thoroughly, although some initial impressions follow below.

Emphasis on initial – I’m not yet posting any of that there, because I want to be sure of it all before I post, not to mention I obviously would go in to much more detail with a full-fledge post on the boards:

  • Runic Empowerment is as awkward as expected. Random runes instantly coming up at random times. The default combat text doesn’t cover it with any option. Not really sure how to use Unholy rune procs as Frost (PS or save it for an Obliterate?). The talent isn’t necessarily bad or good, it’s just quite unpolished and quite difficult to take advantage of.
  • The default UI needs a lot of work, specifically for DKs. Not having a rune mod available is killer. You have to eyeball your runes in the upper left, which is moderately annoying on dummies, and would be performance impairing/killing on actual content. I never realized the default unit frames weren’t even movable. At the least, it would be nice if the rune icons showed the seconds left instead of leaving you to judge by how much is faded.
  • Empty GCDs aren’t an issue, be it in the testing I did as 2H Frost (even with MotFW being bugged and providing 1 RP a proc) or as Unholy. It honestly isn’t. Of course, this is something I predicted long ago based on the pure numbers, but it’s still nice to see the reality of it. I hit buttons just as much as I do on live. With heavy mastery rating and a working MotFW for 2H Frost or heavy haste and proper AMS soaking for Unholy, it might even be too little leeway with GCDs.
  • The burst potential is insane. Of course this was also foreseen and essentially common sense, but still. Unholy Frenzy + Pillar of Frost + Gargoyle makes for some wonderful CD stacking. Top it off with an ERW so you can chain half a dozen single rune Scourge Strikes, and you’re doing a lot of on-demand burst. Of course, it’s not really that insane relative to how it would be on live when you consider health inflation, but it’s still impressive.
  • The UI improvements, in terms of character/profession/spell book/etc panes are amazing. The screenshots don’t do it justice. A+ for Blizzard.
  • Bloods threat is an a rough place. No more modifier on IT + the rune changes + having to BB every 30 seconds + etcetera hurts. RS works for now, at 80, but once I level and avoidance depreciates… yeah. It’s going to be rough, not to mention Blood’s rotation will have empty GCDs, and a fair amount at that.
  • AoE damage got hit hard, but our AoE rotation isn’t near as empty now.

Like I said, just some first thoughts on some stuff I noticed right away in my first ~hour or so of testing. I’ll go much more indepth on these topics, and will certainly delve into others, once I’ve spent more time.


40 Responses to Beta – First Findings, First Impressions

  1. Rtrain says:

    how you manage to snipe a beta key =/.

    Still no luck here.

  2. Anaroth says:

    Most AE game wide got reduced in value, an effective 50% nerf for BB is not unexpected.
    DnD needed a further nerf due to the the fact that it was going from three runes to one.

    Basically they don’t want AE abilities to be part of a single target rotation for DPS specs at least.

    One mechanic question I’ve got is how does blood tap work inside of cataclysm?

    • Consider says:

      The interesting thing is that HB is apparently an exception. Although I haven’t been able to pinpoint it’s exact formula yet, it doesn’t appear to be any weaker than on live (stronger, if anything – if I were to guess, increased base but same coefficient, perhaps? Plus the increase %dmg modifier Frost now has? It’s tough for me to compare the numbers since I can’t just test it as 0/0/0). Not only is it an AoE, but it also had it’s cost reduced.

      Of course, thanks to Rime it’s also an integral aspect of Frost single target dps, but still. It doesn’t appear to follow the rules of AoEs being nerfed relatively speaking.

      As for Blood tap, it appears to always bring back up your first Blood Rune, regardless of which of the two is currently refreshing and/or on cooldown.

      • Anaroth says:

        Actually, I’m not sure how the rune interface works in cataclysm.
        And I’m not sure how the system works with regards to death runes.

        From what you’ve said I think it’s like two tanks with a single inflow valve that get’s switched between the tanks, but will only change tanks when that tank becomes full?
        Iif you BS BS BT BS. Then it’ll use the first blood, then the second blood, then the blood tap refreshes the first blood so it switches to refreshing the second, then after you blood strike so they’re both on cooldown, it’ll continue to refresh the second rune. I guess Death rune status is still tied to the runes then. Does Blood tap still make a rune a death rune? (Probably the first blood one I’d guess).

        I think the HB numbers were left unchanged. That might reflect that they don’t know what it should do. Rime now makes the next IT free as an option, so perhaps that’s the intended single target attack. Of course that would mean that frost would be spamming IT as well as unholy. One solution would be to make HB do additional damage to your primary target depending on the number of diseases on it. That way you could nerf it’s ae damage while still having it useable for rime/RE procs.

        Looking at the trees removing GCs listed talents and unholy command and reducing 5 point talents back to 3 points comes out at 51 points for an unholy tree, so there’s obviously some further compaction needed.

        Icy Talons was always likely to be gone even before this latest upheaval. The frost tree is much harder to work out what will stay because it’s full of talents that could get the chop.

  3. Roth says:

    Its too bad we wont be able to pick up Pillar of Frost when talent trees change in a few days/weeks. But oh well. Hopefully we wont have to go and pick up Icy Talons anymore and will actually have some interesting choices to make.

    And it cant be said enough: Hallelujah, Desolation is dead!!!!

  4. Roth says:

    As for Runic Empowerment…they could simply make that a DK version of Lightning Overload.

    “Your Death Coils and Frost Strikes have an 8/16/24/32/40% chance to cast a similar spell on the same target at no additional cost that causes half damage and no additional threat.”

  5. Ledge says:

    Is there any chance that Blood Boil might be converted into a single-target only ability, or that we might get a different AoE attack to replace it? Assuming it stays, the 10% DR from HF is incredibly awkward given that it’s applied from an AoE ability.

    Also, an aside, $100 says that, when they implement the talent tree overhaul, our ten-point abilities will be Vampiric Blood/Pillar of Frost/Unholy Frenzy (for each respective tree).

    • Olanai says:

      Do you mean the “free” specialization abilities at level 10? (or “first talent point” for death knights) I think Blizzard is much more likely to use the spec-specific core rotational abilities as part of the specialization package, i.e. Heart Strike, Howling Blast, Scourge Strike.

      • Ledge says:

        No, VB et al are supplemental abilities; my impression was the same as yours regarding what “passives” we get.

        What I mean is that our ten-point abilities – the ones we get 3 tiers in (would that make it 11-point abilities?) – will be VB/PF/UH.

  6. psyquest says:

    Check frost dual yield, the numbers are huge too and the burst potentiel is immense. I am getting 28k obliterates and 24k frost strikes.

  7. Azerius says:

    What im interested in is the Racials
    Have the pre-cata races been updated to the powerlevel exhibited by Goblins and Worgen?

  8. Jonneh says:

    All change with the new talent system in the next build I guess, so.. enjoy!

    Looking forward to new posts. 🙂

  9. Coldfire989 says:

    Consider so far from what you have seen does unholy’s priority list really change?

  10. Cecilia says:

    Have you considered(harhar) doing a stream of your testing? I think it would be great to have a dedicated DK Stream and I am sure many of us would find your testing to be both entertaining and even more importantly, informative. Just a thought!

    • Consider says:

      Someone else brought that up somewhere. If I can figure out how to set it up and if it doesn’t seriously infringe on my ability to play (i.e, kill my frame rates or what have you), I could certainly set up sessions where I streamed.

      Give me a few days to look into how to do it and to get a bit more comfortable playing on beta (so I don’t make myself look bad!), and I’ll post one way or the other.

  11. Sag says:

    I’d love to know how death runes will be generated now, or if bloodtap will be the only ability/talent that now generates them.

    Also with your complaints about the standard UI what suggestions would you make to blizz regarding DK UI improvements? I find that while tanking in frost in the standard UI I need to be checking my buff bars for rime/KM procs, check the upper left for rune CDs and what runes are up as well as runic power level, as well as checking HB and DnD CDs for heroics, oh yeah and I have to track those pesky mobs. This makes H HoR pretty difficult with the streams of mobs.

  12. Shinarou says:

    Not sure about the exact math, but after playing as DW/2H frost on beta I will say that I expect the new rendition of Rime to get nerfed a bit. It procs every other OBL and it’s hitting mobs in dungeons for around 25k each on average. Definitely for more than on live. I feel like I’m getting starved for GCD’s, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to use blood strike. I always have FS, OBL or HB to use next CD, and DRM isn’t working properly anyway.

    As far as blood threat, it’s probably just a balance issue as of right now. I haven’t seen a tank of any variety hold threat like they would on live. I wouldn’t worry about that so much just yet. The empty GCD’s as blood on the other hand might end up being an issue. Heck, all this stuff could be worked out in the next build so I guess this might just be wasted typing!

    Grats on the beta key though!

  13. Skullflower says:

    There is actually a way to move the unit frames around with macros.

    Player/Target frame scale+move

    /run ComboFrame:SetParent(“TargetFrame”) PlayerFrame:SetScale(1.5) PlayerFrame:ClearAllPoints() PlayerFrame:SetPoint(“TOPLEFT”,270,-400) TargetFrame:SetScale(1.5) TargetFrame:ClearAllPoints() TargetFrame:SetPoint(“LEFT”,”PlayerFrame”,”RIGHT”)

    Rune frame scale + move

    /run RuneFrame:SetScale(1.5) RuneFrame:ClearAllPoints() RuneFrame:SetPoint(“TOPLEFT”, 500, -600)

    Just change the numbers around till they’re good for you.

  14. Baadshah of Dawnbringer says:

    Very glad to see you got into the beta- and right as a change this massive gets announced too! When I initially heard about this, my thoughts were this:

    1. It could either be completely awesome and really be worth our while.


    2. It could be absolutely horrible and wreck what we feel is core to our talents.

    Here’s an interesting look at the talent trees from the original WoW beta:

    Of course the talents shown here will (hopefully) be very different from what Cataclysm brings, since there’s plenty of boring “Increased %damage or healing” done talents here. But it does give you an idea of how slim our choices might become.

    Personally, my greatest interest is seeing what Unholy morphs into now. It’s pretty much the king of AoE specs at the moment, which is a general theme we won’t be seeing so much of in Cataclysm.

  15. Raxxnamus says:

    Which specs have you tested so far? My main concern is UH 2H staying viable (best) and tight like it used to be without spamming DC’s just to fill in gaps or attempt to bring up another rune.

    Keep up the good work, it’s great to have someone who knows the class keeping us up to date with what’s going on.

  16. Jonneh says:

    I, for one, hope that you get listened to this time.

    Lets face it, because we dont scale with crit properly is why we’re in such a sad state dps wise atm. And you totally get to say “I told you so”, because you told them so. There were pleanty of us there with you hitting dummies on the PTR and saying, “20k crits seems excessive for this level of gear” “on cloth the double crit feels a bit bursty”. Then we went live, and got hotnerfed into the ground living out the rest of the expansion as mediocre single target dps.

    Lets hope that this time we can claim our space for our much loved spec, and not face patch after patch of major changes.

  17. Roth says:

    “The plan is for your pets to scale 100% with your stats. In fact, group buffs don’t even work on pets any longer so that they don’t double dip from those buffs. ”

    This has some huge implications for us. This means we’ll gain 3 talent points (Ravenous Dead) and a major glyph slot.

    That quote was from Ghostcrawler, btw.

    • Consider says:

      I just assumed HoW not buffing ghoul was a bug!

      But, yeah, long overdo change. Pets double-dipping into buffs has always been a bit strange and counter-intuitive. That we will potentially save talent points via RD I wouldn’t read too much into considering it’s pretty likely RD wouldn’t have survived the tree slim down anyway. As for major glyphs, considering they’re set to be closely re-examined, who knows how GotG would have turned out.

      • Roth says:

        True. Either way, itll be nice to see GotG changed into something thats (hopefully) more interesting than a mere stat glyph.

  18. Wesser says:

    Consider i was wondering if you had any comments on the stat changes on the gear in beta? Looking at the wowhead cata site all of our set pieces, and most of the BiS gear is getting switched from ArP to Haste, some where around about 20% haste.

    • Consider says:

      Haste, at level 80 conversion values, is the strongest stat on beta. It will likely devalue a lot before level 85 and (hopefully) put in line with others, but as it stands, the fact that we’re gaining a lot is far, far from a bad thing.

      Besides, it hardly matter for leveling purposes. You’ll replace every single piece of gear – Shadowmourne included – by about level 83, long before you hit the cap and you need to concern yourself with optimizing dps.

      • Roth says:

        According to an EJ post a few months ago…apparently youll need over 400 rating to get 1% crit/haste/mastery at 85.

      • Consider says:

        I haven’t seen any specific numbers, but 400 certainly sounds within a reasonable range when you consider that per percent it’s greatly growing in value (1% haste will, quite literally, be a 1% damage increase, no exceptions unless you’re GCD capped) and that gear inflation is so crazy. Not to mention Blizzard has stated the fact that they don’t intend for any stat to be as high as it is presently, relatively speaking. Crit and avoidance rates, for example, are intended to be much lower, and I would imagine the same goes for haste.

        For what it’s worth, going from level 80 to 81, my haste percent dropped from 20% to 14%. That’s a ~40% increase in rating per percent. If it were to continue literally, that would end up at about 180 rating/percent. Considering it’s almost certainly going to grow exponentially, 400 seems very plausible.

      • Roth says:

        I think the value is something like 440 to be exact, (I could be wrong, but Im fairly certain 1% at 85 is in the 420-440 range). I do remember a holy paladin post on the WoW forums explaining how he/she had lost nearly 20% crit chance on Holy Light simply going from 80 to 82.

        Like you said…some pretty crazy gear inflation. Not surprising though given GC’s comments (ie, we’ll be pretty overpowered at 80 but things completely change once you hit 81).

  19. Rhunonm says:

    Been following up on this site for a long while, finally decided to put in some input.
    Was reading on Mmo today and bliz made a comment about putting D-storm back into the talent tree, but what got me is when they said they want the 10 ability and 31 talent not to center around AE but more single target use. Now after reading that I started thinking of Frost Knights and Howling Blast. I like HB but I never use it unless its a proc 😦 a proc that was always up in the middle of the tree. Perhaps they may go back and look over dk’s with the same thought in mind. Imo one can only hope.

  20. Roth says:

    Didnt know where to throw this up so I figured this place was as good as any. About the 1.5x crit damage on diseases…theres no way thats intended. What would be the point of Runic Focus if diseases only crit for 1.5x damage?

    • Rebellion says:

      Maybe the 100% crit will go to unholy to show its disease emphasis. 150% is still better than no crit at all for other specs and Runic focus is there for all our spells, DC, HB, IT come to mind, while diseases are DoT’s after all. Maybe they just missed out to add them, after all I guess alot of stuff is on halt until they release the new talent system. Given by the amount of changes during the last few patches they must have been working on it for a long time anyway.

  21. Nineswords says:

    Specifics aside Consider, I was wondering what your opinion is on the overall ‘flavour’ of a Cataclysm Unholy spec from your beta testing. It would be great news to still hear that Unholy provides one of the best sustained AoE in the game, with the revised AoE rotations in there, or are we moving towards another style of play entirely?

    • Consider says:

      The current state of Unholy is terrible. I can’t stand it, to be honest, even if the numbers were equivalent to Frost (which they aren’t; not even close). The one rune SS is incredibly uncomfortable to use and get accustomed to. You can’t come close to taking all the talents, which ends up meaning you dump a lot of talents – like Sudden Doom. Runic Empowerment is incredibly buggy/rotation-breaking in its current form, and it’s not as easily ignored for Unholy as it is for Frost. I’m not a fan of the increased rune cooldown, especially considering you can hardly even tell with the default rune display.

      The list could go on. Most of all of that is being resolved – tree being slimmed, rune mods will cover that issue, etc – but one rune SS and runic empowerment really make it just not fun. You basically glue your eyes to your rune display, and then play whack-a-mole. See a blood rune? BS! See a frost rune? IT! See an Unholy/Death rune? SS, except for once a year when you have to PS! All runes down?

      The AoE damage is incredibly nerfed. Between the heavy WP nerfed (not to mention the fact that FF currently isn’t critting, and BP only crits at 1.5x), DnD nerfs (hits so much softer!), EP bug (duration randomly going down to 5s max), running in UP, etc, it’s in quite a poor spot. Numbers can be adjusted though, so I’m not as concerned about that as I am about the actual playstyle.

      I’m loving 2H Frost on the other hand, bugs and all. So much fun. RP flowing out of my ears, even without MotFW working. Fun juggling KM + Rime, especially with the potency of the latter. Still have BS + PoF to watch. Etc. Shaping up to be my favorite spec, I must say.

      • Rebellion says:

        Just as expected. My interest in unholy began to weaken because the new unholy had hardly anthing to do with the current playstyle of the tree and that already by just looking at the mechanics on paper. Firsthand reports just confirm my worst guesses.

  22. Rebellion says:

    I think it depends on what they want to do with with HB in the first place. Afaik it hits quite high at the moment even as an AoE which is not supposed to be the case, given they wanted to weaken aoe across the board. It works quite well as an single target attack at the moment too, so they might not change its place, depending on how it turns out. If they decide its going to be a aoe-only move we might see it go away as a 51(31) pt talent, and be replaced with a more singletarget oriented move. If it stays as it is or is changed more towards single target dps, it might as well stay in its place.

    Somehow I get the feeling I overused certain words …

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